The Rough Patch I figured was going to be a book about a garden that needed love and patience. Or maybe a bad garden that caused a rough patch between neighbors. While love and patience is needed, it is not what you think at first.
Evan and his dog do everything together, that is until the unthinkable happens. Now Evan is alone, mad, sad and feeling prickly. He does not go out until the day he goes out to the garden and chops it all down and tosses it in a heap. But a good space does not stay empty forever, and something will grow. And soon weeds and plants that look like Evan feels grows. Until he notices a new plant. But the vines are all twisted, so he leaves it. One day that plant has grown to a giant pumpkin, just in time for the fair. Just in time to see old friends. Just in time to do the things one must do at the fair.
The metaphor that Evan is good and the weeds inside of him must take their course is going to be obvious to the adult. However, the child might miss this. The fact it is about the death of the dog and is in a picture book format, would make you think it is for children. I would think of an adult as the reader of this book before I gave it to a child. It is possible you could give it to an older child (7 to young 9).
Brian Lies illustrations and text make this a unique book on the subject. His illustrations depict the story perfectly, but also give it a softer quality to tone the harshness down a bit. The colors fit the mood and just make the story even stronger.